An Ingenious Blu-Ray Mini-Disk Player

Internals of the Blu-ray player, showing both the blu-ray drive and the custom PCBs

[befi] brings us a project as impressive as it is reminiscent of older times, a Blu-Ray mini disk player. Easily fitting inside a pocket like a 8 cm CD player would, this is a labour of love and, thanks to [befi]’s skills both in electronics and in using a dremel tool.

A BluRay drive was taken apart, for a start, and a lot of case parts were cut off; somehow, [befi] made it fit within an exceptionally tiny footprint, getting new structural parts printed instead, to a new size. The space savings let him put a fully custom F1C100S-powered board with a number of unique features, from a USB-SATA chip to talk to the BluRay drive, to USB pathway control for making sure the player can do USB gadget mode when desired.

There’s an OLED screen on the side, buttons for controlling the playback, power and battery management – this player is built to a high standard, ready for day-to-day use as your companion, in the world where leaving your smartphone as uninvolved in your life as possible is a surprisingly wise decision. As a fun aside, did you know that while 8 cm CDs and DVDs existed, 8 cm BluRay drives never made it to market? If you’re wondering how is it that [befi] has disks to play in this device, yes, he’s used a dremel here too.

Everything is open-sourced – 3D print files, the F1C100S board, and the Buildroot distribution complete with all the custom software used. If you want to build such a player, and we wouldn’t be surprised if you were, there’s more than enough resources for you to go off. And, if you’re thinking of building something else in a similar way, the Buildroot image will be hugely helpful.

Want some entertainment instead? Watch the video embedded below, the build journey is full of things you never knew you wanted to learn. This player is definitely a shining star on the dark path that is Blu-Ray, given that our most popular articles on Blu-Ray are about its problems.

12 thoughts on “An Ingenious Blu-Ray Mini-Disk Player

    1. Interesting claim of 25 minutes of video given 80mm cd only held 18 to maybe 24 minutes of audio depending on the format, or 210MB at most. If literally only using one audio channel for the video, the greyscale choice makes some sense but it would still be very poor quality or resolution. I imagine some form of VCD encoding was likely used given that was all the rage before DVD burners and media become more prevalent, reliable and affordable.

        1. “VideoNow used non-standard sized optical discs, apparently based on the audio Compact Disc format. These were known as Personal Video Discs (PVDs) and the discs for VideoNow were 85mm in diameter (compared to 120mm for a standard Compact Disc) with a capacity of up to 25 minutes of video. Only mono sound was available as the video information took up one of the audio channels.”

          ↑ Quoted from the link you are replying to.

  1. Super cool! But, uh, what’s it for? This recap does not actually mention what it does, only that it’s small…

    Since its bluray, i presume it’s video? How much video can it store, what’s the capacity of such a small disc?

    1. Everyone wanted universal storage on Minidisc to be a thing in the nineties like in Johnny Mnemonic & Matrix. But Sony is Sony, they only relented somewhat in 2001 with NetMD (can you store arbitrary files, or still just the music?).

      This presents viable alternative in case you are planning time travel ;-). Mini CDs are barely larger than MD.

      Im quite surprised you can just cut ordinary CD-RW/Bluray and it still works :-o

      1. MD DATA actually existed since ’93, needed specific drives… NetMD does not allow you to put arbitrary files but the later HiMD does (both with MD and HiMD discs as long as they’re formatted in HiMD mode)

          1. MD always seemed like a great idea to me. It’s so stable, not susceptible to random magnetic corruption. The media is protected, unlike CD/DVD-RW. I always expected someone to push it for archival storage.

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